Personal Injury FAQs

Do I need a personal injury attorney?
What is the "serious injury" statute?
What are No Fault benefits?
How much is my case worth?
Should I accept an insurance company's settlement offer?
Will I be able to recover money even if I am partly at fault?
Will I have to go to court?
When should I call an attorney?
How much will the legal process cost?
How does mediation work?
How does mediation differ from arbitration?

Do I need a personal injury attorney?
The physical manifestation of injuries and medical problems caused by an accident may not be fully felt, recognized or diagnosed for months or even years after an accident. Pecuniary losses from medical bills, decreased earning capabilities, and many other problems can mount suddenly and unexpectedly. An experienced personal injury attorney can analyze your case, determine fair compensation for your injuries, limitations and losses, and effectively negotiate with insurance companies.

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What is the "serious injury" statute?
In New York, the legislators have enacted Article 51 of the Insurance Law, which, among other things, was promulgated to establish a standard for which personal injury cases may proceed with litigation. The law provides that if one is not "seriously injured," he or she will be subject to having his or her lawsuit dismissed by the court. S5102 of the Insurance Law defines serious injury as follows:
"Serious injury" means a personal injury which results in

  1. death;
  2. dismemberment;
  3. significant disfigurement;
  4. a fracture;
  5. loss of a fetus;
  6. permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function or system;
  7. permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member;
  8. significant limitation of use of a body function or system;
  9. or, a medically determined injury or impairment of a non-permanent nature which prevents the injured person from performing substantially all of the material acts which constitute such person's usual and customary daily activities for not less than ninety days during the one hundred eighty days immediately following the occurrence of the injury or impairment.

Many cases involve injury to the neck and back, and these injuries typically fall under the above categories designated as (vi), (vii), (viii) and/or (ix). It is best to contact the Law Offices of Timothy A. Green to determine whether you have suffered a "serious injury."

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What are No Fault benefits?
Every New York State motor vehicle insurance policy is required to have a provision for No Fault benefits. Under New York law, your insurance carrier is required to pay your medical bills and certain other losses, regardless of which driver was at fault in a motor vehicle accident. There is a time limit for filing the application for these benefits, so it is in your best interest to contact the Law Offices of Timothy A. Green today.

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How much is my case worth?
Compensation for your injuries depends on many factors, including the nature and extent of your injuries, physical and mental pain and suffering (both past and future), the number and length of medical treatments, lost wages, decreased earning potential, and physical limitations, impairment and/or disfigurement.

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Should I accept an insurance company's settlement offer?
Before accepting a settlement, it is always in your best interest to consult an attorney. Adjusters work for the insurance company, not for you. Their job is to settle the matter for the lowest possible cost to the company. At the Law Offices of Timothy A. Green, we will work for you and ensure that a settlement results in full compensation for your injuries. You don't want to sign away your rights only to later discover that your injuries and losses were worse than you originally thought.

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Will I be able to recover money even if I am partly at fault?
Yes. In most cases, accident victims can recover money even if they are partly to blame for the accident.

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Will I have to go to court?
The vast majority of personal injury claims can be settled for their full value through negotiation, mediation or arbitration, without you ever having to go to court.

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When should I call an attorney?
You should consult an attorney as soon as possible after being injured. In most cases there are time limits for serving notices and filing claims after an injury occurs, and if this deadline passes, your claim could be lost forever. In addition, finding witnesses and gathering evidence to support your case becomes more difficult the longer you wait.

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How much will the legal process cost?
We will be happy to provide you with a free, no obligation evaluation of your prospective personal injury claim. We accept personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis which means that you do not pay ANY attorney's fees unless we are successful. A contingency fee arrangement allows you and your family to receive assistance at a time you need it most, without having to pay for a lawyer to protect your interests.

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How does mediation work?
The simple purpose of mediation is to provide a means whereby parties to a dispute and their attorneys can attempt to negotiate a reasonable settlement satisfactory to both parties. Mediation is a relatively straightforward process. A mediator, who is an impartial observer and often a retired judge, meets with the parties and their attorneys in a relaxed setting in an effort to promote open communication and a spirit of cooperation. Generally, each party and their attorney will present to the other side and to the mediator their reasoning as to why they feel they should win and their chances of winning or losing. The mediator will then meet with the parties together and by questioning and discussion will assist the parties to fairly and properly evaluate their cases.

More often than not, a mediator will then meet with a party and his/her attorney in private to discuss both the good points and the bad points about their case. The mediator will likewise meet with the other side to discuss with them the good and bad points of their case.

By serving as a third party impartial participant in the process, a mediator attempts to get both sides to reach a mutually satisfactory settlement of the case without further time and expense being incurred by the parties to the dispute.

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How does mediation differ from arbitration?
A mediator has no authority to render a decision. A mediator simply facilitates an agreement among the parties. An arbitrator conducts a contested hearing between the parties and then, acting as a judge, renders a legally binding decision.

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